Anyone who is an aficionado of music, the early days of rock ‘n’ roll radio or is just a fans of the 1950s will want to check out Jerry Blavat’s You Only Rock Once.
Blavat’s legend was made in the early days of rock radio and TV in the city that launched Dick Clark into the national spotlight with American Bandstand. Blavat’s story reads like a slice of the classic movie Bronx Tale; his Dad was Jewish numbers runner and mobster and his early life found him running the streets of Philadelphia.
An under-aged Blavat danced his way onto Bob Horn’s Bandstand (which would later find fill in host Clark taking the show national as American Bandstand.) Blavat’s tale is laced with his love of music, that remains in place to this day. He became a member of Horn’s music advisory panel, helping to pick the hits that would make it onto the TV show.
One of the early signs of Blavat’s rebellious side came when Horn ran into some legal troubles and Clark was brought into the host Bandstand and he launched an ill-fated protest to return the troubled Horn to host duties. This also was an early example of Blavat’s single-mindedness when it came to business.
Blavat runs down not only his wild-child approach to his teens; including colorful business and precocious sexual exploits. Before he was out of high school, Blavat became the road manager for early rockers Danny and the Juniors, later becoming a promo pitchman for record companies and then landing his first radio gig.
Blavat mingles great stories the book of his brushes with fame and the famous like a young start up comedian Don Rickles, Frank Sinatra, Frankie Avalon and Sammy Davis Jr. among many others. To call Blavat colorful is an understatement.
The most amazing thing about You Only rock Once is the absolute clarity of Blavat’s passion for the music that he promoted, played and lives right to this day. His is a truly fascinating story.